Imagine you are visiting your doctor. After describing your present circumstances and symptoms to him, he lets you go empty-handed without prescribing any antibiotics. Rather than being incompetent, your doctor might be doing you more good than you even realize.
What Are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are one of science’s greatest inventions. They are drugs created to fight bacterial infections. It is truly amazing to see how it stops the growth and reproduction of bacteria in our bodies.
However, as with many other things science has given us, there are dangers of overuse. This is why your doctor may hesitate before grabbing the prescription pad to scribble names of antibiotics.
When They Can Be Harmful
Since antibiotics were created to fight bacteria, it should make sense to grab the nearest drug when you are down with an infection right? Wrong!
Regularly taking these drugs for common cold and other illnesses might not only stop the drugs from working after a while, but it can also have dangerous side effects.
Microbes and other illness-causing bacteria can often become stronger and resistant to antibiotics due to frequent and inappropriate use. This will make these ‘common’ illnesses harder to treat and require higher and stronger doses. It has been noted that due to overuse, certain bacteria can become resistant to even the most powerful antibiotic.
This has become a real issue even getting the attention of top health organizations who refer to antibiotic resistance as one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.
There are still other effects of overusing antibiotics. The human body plays host to some bacteria that aren’t harmful. Rather than cause problems, they help the human body do vital things like digest food properly and keep the body healthy. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to the destruction of these useful organisms which can cause a person to develop diarrhoea as a result of poor digestion.
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How To Safely Use Antibiotics
So when is it safe to use antibiotics? To avoid training resistant bacteria, consider the following tips.
- Take Antibiotics Only When You Need To. With so much at risk, only take antibiotics when it is necessary. If you are in doubt, consult your doctor. They are in a better position to tell you when an infection like cold or itchy throat is mild and should run its course. The safest action is to not take antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.
- Complete Your Dosage. See to it that you finish your dosage even if you somehow feel better. Completing your dosage is the surest way to completely finish off whatever bacteria is responsible for your illness. When you stop your medication halfway, you give the organisms a way to regroup and become resistant.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions. Antibiotics are mostly prescribed particularly for certain bacteria. Following through with your doctor’s prescription and dosage instruction means you must use the drugs at the right time and in the right quantity. Overuse or underuse can be dangerous and jeopardize effectiveness.
- Never Save Drugs For Later. It is a bad idea to save antibiotics for later. All unused drugs should be thrown away and shouldn’t be passed on to someone else or returned to the shelf.
- Talk To Your Doctor About Other Ways To Treat Common Illnesses. Do not view antibiotics as first aid. Talk to your doctor and explore other ways to treat common illnesses instead of gulping down pills of antibiotics regularly. Maintain open communications with your health care provider and discover new ways of preventing and fighting infections.